It’s a great feeling to be able to set up a session and never have to worry about troubleshooting or fixing our essential workhouse gear. We’re not talking about microphones- but the rugged boxes that often live on the floor next to pedal boards, quietly doing the work to transfer clean signals from our live room to our Protools session. In our opinion, Radial Engineering’s equipment is the only brand that we trust to get the job done right every time, and it really is essential to our workflow.
Whether we are re-amping a bass DI line to move air and fill out a part, or collecting a DI signal as a safeguard while tracking, there are few sessions at the studio that don’t use Radial equipment. Started by Peter Janis in 1991, this Canadian company has been on the cutting edge of capturing pure musical tones ever since– bass, synths, electric, and acoustic guitar signals all sound great with their equipment, and Radial Engineering always has a solution to convert a myriad of signal sources to our console. Their products range from DI boxes, Reamp boxes, amp- and channel-switchers, and of course a whole series of Line- and Mic-level boxes that are used on stages, studios and in the corporate world as well. All of their units are designed to easily convert signals and consistently deliver THE best in audio quality.
At the heart of most of the Radial products is the coveted Jensen transformer. These transformers were designed in 1974 by Deane Jensen, the son of a Norwegian Physicist. His father went on to work for RCA labs as well as many other government jobs. Deane discovered that one of the major drawbacks of most mixing consoles was the transformer, so he developed his custom Jensen transformer which increased the frequency response and introduced the Bessel curve (which Jensen is famous for) to cut down on noise. These transformers are the secret weapons for the Radial DI box line and how they achieve such sonic quality.
The backbone of Radial’s legacy is definitely their Jensen-equipped JDI (launched in 1996) and J48 direct boxes. They really are THE BEST Direct Input boxes on the market. Not only are these the best sounding boxes but they are also incredibly rugged and reliable. We have taken these units on countless numbers of tours, dropped them, stuck them to pedalboards, had fans spill beer on them, and they ALWAYS work. You never have to second guess whether any of their products will fail regardless of what gets plugged into it.
At the studio we also use some 500 series units as well as theirSGI guitar balanced line driver, their X-amp reamp box, their Phazor which is a phase alignment tool that we use on bass, the J+4 which takes a -10db signal and boosts it up to a +4db signal, and the JDX which is a direct box that goes between and amplifier and a speaker cab, sort of like a DI box but for an amp. Radial also has a more cost-effective “Pro-DI” line. These units are not equipped with Jensen transformers but they still do an amazing job capturing a clean signal.
Radial as a brand also includes some other product lines that feature essential gear for studio recording. Primacoustic is focused on acoustic room treatment options (we use their isopads for our monitors on in our mix room to prevent any unwanted vibrations from affecting the monitor’s output). Another great product is their ABY switches, which allow you to switch between two amplifiers or combine both amp signals with a simple foot switch. We can also vouch for their Twin City Tone Bone and BigShot ABY switches, which can be essential for live performances. Basically you can’t go wrong with Radial products, and we can’t sing their praises enough at the studio. They really should be your go-to if you want to reliably get the best sounding signal every time.